My Turn: Road construction will enhance State Route 28
The Nevada Department of Transportation has started an important North Lake Tahoe road improvement project.
State Route 28 from U.S. 50 to Sand Harbor will be closed to traffic four days a week for three weeks through May 22. The road will be closed for repaving to all vehicles, except ambulance and other emergency vehicles, beginning each Sunday at 7 p.m. through 5 a.m. each Friday. The road will be open to all vehicles every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, closing again Sundays at 7 p.m.
During these 12 total days of closure, more than seven miles of roadway will be repaved. Road crews will work 24 hours a day, removing old roadway surface at night and paving during the day. Ruts and cracking from freezing-thawing temperatures and tire chains will all be eliminated to create a better road.
While this project, and all road construction, can create inconveniences, there are some important reasons a closure was selected as the best option to reduce impact to the community and road users. If State Route 28 remained open during construction, drivers would be subjected to nearly 16 full weeks of potential hour-long delays; delays lasting through October. When comparing 12 days to 16 weeks of hour-long traffic delays, we chose the shorter time.
Closing the road for 12 days eliminates a potential summer-long traffic disruption. It will also allow road construction to end before important events that bring visitors and commerce to the area, from the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival to Hot August Nights. Another benefit: without the need to switch traffic and construction barriers, road crews are free to more quickly finish the project. This means overall project costs will be less, saving taxpayer dollars.
Road work will continue for approximately five weeks after the closure. From May 25 to July 2, traffic will be reduced to one lane with a pilot car from Sand Harbor to East Lakeshore Boulevard. Motorists can expect half-hour delays. The road will once again open to all vehicles every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
NDOT wishes to recognize all of the agencies, groups and individuals who have worked so closely with us to ensure that this necessary road improvement most effectively meets community needs. Area fire, emergency service and police agencies provided input to ensure they are able to travel through the construction area in the course of their life-saving work. North and South Lake Tahoe visitors bureaus and local resorts are providing information on the closure to Lake Tahoe visitors.
Many local businesses are taking measures to continually provide the best service to both customers and employees during the road project. Meanwhile, residents and commuters are making schedule and commute changes to ensure the closure most feasibly fits their busy lives.
Much as we each must undergo health screenings and procedures to ensure our own health, roads too must be maintained. In fact, such road work is a positive economic sign of jobs being created and the nation’s infrastructure being upkept. The Nevada Department of Transportation appreciates the understanding of all those affected by this important road improvement, and looks forward to a new and improved State Route 28.
A project map and further information is available at http://www.nevadadot.com.
Susan Martinovich is director of the Nevada Department of Transportation.
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